Events Calendar

Engineering Mesoscale Order in Crystalline Materials for Sustainability

Tuesday, January 24, 2023
9:30 am - 10:30 am

Location: NHB 1.720

How crystals grow at dynamic interfaces is a broad-based science question that underpins a variety of opportunities for enabling key technologies. Fundamental answers are crucial for meaningfully advancing the state-of-the-art in, for example, energy storage materials and lightweight mechanical parts. However, the dynamic—i.e., far from equilibrium & in the presence of anisotropic fields—nature of such growth poses critical challenges on its effective control, especially, at practical rates under ambient conditions. In this talk, as a point of departure from conventional approaches, I will discuss how mesoscale order of crystalline materials plays a critical—but underexplored—role in building high-performance batteries featuring low cost, intrinsic safety, and long cycle life. The focus on order at mesoscopic length scales is of interest because phenomena at these scales report explicit effects from intrinsic atomic bonding—i.e., the crystal structure—and markedly impact macroscopic properties—e.g., the electrochemical activity—of materials. Design and realization of mesoscale order via scalable methods offers a fresh path towards full utilization of the intrinsic anisotropy of crystalline materials for a diversity of applications.


Kent (Jingxu) Zheng is currently a postdoctoral associate at the Department of Physics, MIT. Beyond advancing his prior research on next-generation energy storage, Kent works on scalable synthesis of mesoscale ordered materials that host exotic electrochemical, mechanical, and electronic properties (advisor: Prof. Joseph Checkelsky). He obtained his PhD in 2020 under the supervision of Prof. Lynden Archer at the School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, Cornell University. His PhD thesis study focused on the design of reversible metallic anodes in batteries, including Li, Zn, Al, etc., by controlling crystal growth at dynamic interfaces. Kent earned his bachelor’s degrees in materials science and in history, respectively, from Shanghai Jiao Tong University in 2017. In 2014~2017, he worked in Frontier Research Center for Materials Structures (FRCMS). His research in FRCMS centered on atomic-scale characterization of phase transformations in light-weight alloys, e.g., Mg and Al, using advanced transmission electron microscopy. He has co-authored more than 60 peer-reviewed research papers in his academic career. He is recipient of the Early Career Award (2021) from the Electrodeposition Division of the Electrochemical Society.

Speaker: Dr. Kent (Jingxu) Zheng, MIT